Men, let’s be honest, have always been far less PC than women. It was mostly the less fair sex who, back in the Sixties, hijacked the positive phrase “Politically correct” and then hammered and smelted it into something to be deemed corrosive and suspicious. It’s men who like to giggle at national stereotypes, drive lethally and verbalise every sexual whim. Many of us feel that things like inclusiveness, sensitivity and safety enslave us, censor us, infringe on our freedoms. It’s men who more often than not see social responsibility as something not to be surrendered to.
And there is one particular man who is the High Priest at the Church of Political Incorrectness. You can’t miss him – he’s the one who wears bad jeans, and resembles a face carving on a tree that’s been sawn into the shape of a man. That’s right: mankind, in the Western world, is slowly becoming converted to Clarksonism - the belief that our freedoms are being sapped, our manhood neutered, by a sinister tide of liberal thinking. The gleeful, gushing support he has received on social media since his latest trite devastating piece of political analysis - his assertion that striking public sector workers should be shot in front of their families.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, you have to suspect that the Top Gear front man doesn’t actually believe everything that slips off that proudly Middle-English tongue. The guy’s a very clever satirist and provocateur who knows his audience – and knows how to work that audience’s deepest frustrations and fears, like a master puppeteer. But does he really believe the Welsh language should be abolished, that schoolkids should be taught about the positives of colonial rule, or that the Green movement is an anti-motorist conspiracy? Or will he turn around one day and admit it was all a joke? Maybe he’ll start presenting Top Gear in an ethnic-printed kaftan and front an ad campaign for biodegradable Styrofoam manufactured from human breast milk? Or perhaps not....
The Clarksonist feels that cars which fart less Co2 than their tarmac-shredding alternatives are for namby-pamby liberals, even though they are still 50 times more powerful than they need to be to propel him from A to B.
So why do men feel so empowered, so liberated, by Clarkson’s virulent anti-PC opinions? It helps that he is extremely funny in his delivery and turn of phrase, but there’s more to it than that. One theory is that men are used to calling the shots without interference, and have only had a few decades to adapt to the gradual, still ongoing dissolution of that privilege. According to clinical psychologist Michael Burge, men are suffering from what they see as “the seriously ball-busting effects” of political correctness - especially alpha males. “Think Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino,” he says. “Men who see that discrimination on the grounds of gender, race and religion needs to be eradicated, and believe in chivalry along with fairness to women and the vulnerable, but still see powerful minority groups as undermining their biological manhood.” Clarkson, as a shrewd observer of human nature, knows that his followers feel disenfranchised, their very virility compromised, in the post-feminist era.
What about the factors that come from within, though? What about good old-fashioned machismo? As riddled with testosterone as we are, men see compassion as an inherently female trait. That’s why we coin disparaging terms like “bleeding heart liberals”. We see offensiveness as the opposite of capitulation, and therefore an end in itself – which is why, when His Clarksonness suggests we park in disabled spaces or blames rising oil prices on “Johnny Chinaman part-exchanging his rickshaw for a shiny new Toyota”, the male masses – his global congregation - go all doe-eyed.
Maybe he’ll start presenting Top Gear in an ethnic-printed kaftan and front an ad campaign for biodegradable Styrofoam manufactured from human breast milk? Or perhaps not....
In fairness, he’s actually quite restrained – were the 51-year-old Yorkshireman to suggest all the burkas in the world were confiscated en masse and draped over speed cameras, a good portion of his devotees would put their stepladders in the boots of their Beemers and speed off to the nearest mosque.
Men also have an innate aversion to being told what to do. Up yours, doctors who think a kebab-sized aortic aneurysm is reason enough to cut down on the Marlboros, or mental health professionals who think the term “retard” is a little disparaging, or climatologists who think we should try not to ravage our children’s environmental inheritance. The Clarksonist feels that cars which fart less Co2 than their tarmac-shredding alternatives are for namby-pamby liberals, even though they are still 50 times more powerful than they need to be to propel him from A to B.
Which is a bit weird, because us men also like to think we – like His Highness, The Clarksonator - are world conqueringly commonsensical. “Political correctness gone mad,” we hoot with incredulous laughter, slapping the pub table, when a Seattle school bans the term “Easter Eggs” so as not to promote specific religious beliefs. That particular PC ruling, unlike many which are reported, did happen – which is, of course, batshit. But isn’t it crazier that Clarksonised man seems to care more about kids having to talk about “Chocolate Spring Spheres” than all the genuine evils unfolding on this troubled little planet combined? Things like human rights abuses, neo-Nazism, nail-bombs in gay bars – you know, the things that happen when political incorrectness goes mad. Sorry, not mad, “selectively perceptive”. We’re a strange breed, ladies.
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